The Myers-Briggs Test
Taken by more than 2 million people annually, the Myers-Briggs test is undoubtedly the most popular personality test out there. As an introspective self-report test with 93 questions, it claims to be able to assign one of 16 different personality types to every individual human being on the planet. The Myers-Briggs company which owns the rights to and sells the test even make upwards of £11 million a year by doing so. The company claims that the test offers people “objective insight” into their strengths and weaknesses which help them improve themselves, in addition to apparently offering businesses “unrivalled insight to improve interpersonal communication” so as to create “the agile, robust culture companies need to succeed.”
Now this all sounds quite nice, of course, but there’s one core problem: the test is completely meaningless. It has absolutely no benefit whatsoever. It is a complete sham lacking any scientific basis. As the American psychologist Robert Hogan has noted, the Myers Briggs test is regarded by leading psychologists as “as little more than an elaborate fortune cookie.” Based upon untested and now widely discredited theories of Carl Jung, the test was developed in the 1940s by two American authors, Katharine Cook-Briggs and Isabel Briggs-Myers. They were heavily influenced by the English translation of Jung’s book on Psychological Types published in the late 1920s. In the book, Jung had explained that he believed humans roughly fall into two types: perceivers and judgers. These two main groups could then supposedly be subdivided into two groups each: the first into those who prefer sensing, those who prefer intuiting, and the second into those who are more rational and those who are more emotional. All four types could in turn be further divided based on the attitudes of introverts and extroverts. However, importantly, Jung himself expressly noted that these categories were only proximate and admitted that all people will probably have at least a little bit of each one.
You’d never find the same nuance with Myers and Briggs themselves, however. Their test is, quite frankly, based entirely on the pseudoscientific notion that people either fall completely into one category or completely into the other. It arrives at its conclusions based on respondents’ answers to rather silly questions such as “Do you tend to sympathize with other people?”, with respondents only being offered the option between two blunt answers: “yes” or “no.”
Ultimately, there is no evidence for the false dichotomies into which the Myers-Briggs test wants to categorize or classify all people. It relies on limited binaries, while most people’s personalities simply can’t be classified into opposites. Personality traits are simply far too complex to be evaluated by a test with such immense limitations. No single person in the world is exclusively an extrovert. No single person is exclusively an introvert. Even the data and results from the Myers-Briggs test itself, as flawed as it is, shows that most people score somewhere in the middle for any and every category.
Another central problem with the test is that, regardless of who you are, your results will always be flattering without exception. Ultimately, the truth is that the test simply hasn’t been designed to categorize human personality types — something which, mind you, is a psychological impossibility to begin with — rather, the test was designed to make people feel good about themselves by telling them something they would like to hear. The unscientific and arbitrary nature of the test is evident from the fact that research has shown that as many as half of people get a completely different result when they take the test a second time. The reality is that our answers to the test’s questions may actually differ from day to day depending on factors such as even the mood we happen to be in.
No psychologist worth his salt will ever use the Myers-Briggs test nor recognize its authority. Being a so-called “certified test administrator” for Myers-Briggs is an absolutely meaningless and fake qualification. Personality itself is recognized by psychologists as being simply far too complex to even attempt to categorize the entire planet’s population into a limited number of essentially arbitrary categories. The reality is that there are innumerable factors that shape every unique human personality, including genetics, the environment, culture, and experiences among others.
The Myers-Briggs test essentially is nothing but a money-making scam. And it is a terribly sad reality that it has been used to fool so many people all over the world to the extent that many companies, several government agencies and even the US military continue, even to this very day, to waste millions of pounds on this bogus and useless test.